Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Why so big, and why so powerful? Giving the Stelvio a pass...

As in "I'll pass, thanks". Not a pass mark.

Still, it will sell heaps, if the product and service side stacks up in the real world.

Here's a review. A good one, too, that rewards Alfa for joining the game.

So what is an Alfa Romeo Stelvio? An oversized, over-weight 4WD for the overweight, oversized luxury car buyer. From Alfa's point of view they are late to the party and have a lot of ground to make up. It's a game of catch-up, where other premium brands have been feasting for too long. It's clearly about profit and profit margins being bigger at the top-end, and it's a game they have to join to survive.

As cars go, it's a lump - as you'd expect. It's not particularly about the line and the style, although they have done OK to make it look presentable. It's well made, apparently. And it has enough grunt to overcome the mass and make it stupidly fast. 

Which is my next point. Why so much mass? Well, it comes with the luxo-barge overkill design brief, sadly. It has everything, except a svelte figure.

If you want a practical, usable car instead, get a MiTo. It's much more suitable for driving, especially up the Passo dello Stelvio. Actually, if you are looking for the mountain pass, it's here.

But maybe use a bicycle instead.


Cary said...

The whole time I lived and worked in Las Vegas, Nevada, I don't believe that I ever saw an Alfa Romero. One might say that I must not have gotten around, yet I did. I was a used car dealer where I bought and sold many many beautiful rust free cars, yet I don't recall an Alfa. I even bought 59&60's MG MGA's (Don't hate me). Do you think it's because it's so hot in Vegas, that they didn't like the heat? I live in Australia now, and have retired from the car business. I do however see quite a few "newer" Alfas over here.

gtveloce said...

I don't think it was because of the heat, although it's possible that it deterred some buyers. It gets hot around the Mediterranean, too, and they are built for that. But their reputation has risen and fallen for other reasons. Generally though, Alfas were bought for their cutting-edge style and European handling, especially when US and Aussie cars were almost universally big, thirsty and cumbersome. Twisty, even bumpy roads were the preferred territory, be it in Europe or elsewhere. Whilst Alfas could also gobble up the autostrada, long, straight and flat roads didn't bring out the true nature of the cars and, coupled with often uncompetitive pricing and poor after-sales support - especially away from the primary US sales catchments like California and the north-eastern states - deterred many buyers. Tougher air pollution regs also dealt a blow to many small-import Euro cars, with Alfa pulling out of the US because it simply got uneconomic to meet pollution and safety regulations at the then volumes. All told Alfa has had its ups and downs both here in Australia and in the US, with sales peaking in the '80s, then crashing to virtually zero - especially in the US. Only now, with FIAT's ownership and investment is it climbing back up. Nothing wrong with MGA's by the way ;-)